Survey: Skill Shortage Slowing RFID Adoption - InformationWeek

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Survey: Skill Shortage Slowing RFID Adoption

Only 15% of the 80 companies answering the survey have implemented one or more test projects.

Seventy five percent of business professionals think there's an insufficient skilled workforce to design and deploy radio frequency identification technology strategies, and 80 percent believe RFID adoption rates will suffer.

So reveals a study released Monday by trade organization Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) at RFID World 2006 in Dallas, Texas.

Hiring qualified workers and finding vendor support isn't easy, but there are other challenges as well, survey participants said.

Write-in comments reveal some survey participants were not familiar with RFID until taking the survey. Those who had lack experience in the technology. In fact, 43.8 percent report examining the technology, but not deployed projects; followed by 33.8 percent who said they haven't explored the technology. Only 15 percent have implemented one or more test projects.

Overcoming initial implementation hurdles appears the most daunting, according to 60 percent of survey respondents, and 58 percent said finding customers isn't easy. Half found training and education difficult. The minority, 8.6 percent, said they don't foresee any challenges.

"We continue to see training and education for staff on RFID is one of the top three challenges in adopting the technology," said Dave Sommer, vice president of electronic commerce at CompTIA. "The skill requires knowledge of radio physics and it's something most IT organizations do not posses today, and many are from small companies."

Nearly half of the 80 companies participating in the online survey generate $2 million or less in annual revenue. Ninety eight percent are in North America.

Value-added resellers and solution providers account for 47 percent of the 80 companies participating in the survey; consultants and system integrators, 25 percent; distributors, manufacturers, and educators, the remainder.

Fifty one percent of companies participating in the survey have customers in service industries, including health care, government and retail.

When asked if they would offer RFID products and services within the next three years, 11.3 percent of the survey participants said no. However, 41.3 percent said yes, up from 37 percent in last year's survey; and 47.5 percent said maybe, up from 39 percent.

Some suggest they might offer multiple services. Hardware installation and maintenance led with 84.3 percent; software implementation, 72.9 percent; software development, 28.6 percent; and other combined services, 47.2 percent.

CompTIA, trade association AIM Global and 20 RFID companies, such as IBM Corp., Intermec Technologies Corp., Printronix Inc., ScanSource, and Symbol Technologies Inc. have developed a skill certification test.

The CompTIA RFID+ certification will launch on Tuesday. RFID4U, a provider of RFID education tools, in partnership with Shorecliff Communications, a United Business Media LLC company, will offer training.

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